Over the weekend of 25th and 26th June, 18 Contenders entered the sixth leg of the Allen Travellers Series at Highcliffe Sailing Club, a venue that has hosted many a great Contender event over the years. The weather forecast promised mostly blue skies and no shortage of breeze from the Southwest, which also meant there would be some decent waves to play with.
Having heard the reputation of the Contender fleet for jumping the gun on occasion, the Race Officer made clear his intentions by hoisting the “I” Flag for the very first start! Which by and large worked well, with no general recalls all weekend and few individual ones either.
The Contender fleet launched into a steady 18-22Kts wind from the SSW, which maintained throughout the first day. With three races due to be sailed, it was going to be a strenuous afternoon.
Race 1 started without incident with local hero Simon Mussell getting the best of the start and roaring into the lead up the first beat, followed by Ed Presley and a chasing pack. The first reach was a high octane trapezing one, with some big waves to slide off, resulting in some early swims including for local sailor Gary Langdown whose boat launched into the air off a wave and jettisoned poor Gaz into the brine shortly before the wing mark! The second reach back towards shore offered some excellent surfing opportunities, particularly for those taking advantage of the pumping (as much as you like!) flag flown from the Committee Boat all day. Simon stretched his lead to the end of the race, followed home by Ed and Richard Batten, another local Highcliffe lad in third.
Over the weekend of 18th and 19thof June, Marconi Sailing Club played host to the 33rd East Coast Piers Race. Not being held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID it was a welcome return for the classic long distance sailing event.
Since the last event, we have also lost a dear catamaran sailing friend in Robin Smith.
35 years ago a small group of Marconi Sailing Club cat sailors met in the now-defunct Marconi Social Club bar to chat about the idea of a long-distance charity cat race to raise funds following the death of a fellow cat sailor. Robin Smith had brought along a silver Rose Bowl and proposed we used it as a trophy. A small team bit the bullet… and the East Coast Piers Race was born.
Round 2 of the Allen Endurance Series was set to be a big one with 59 competitors pre-entered for the weekend. Part of that bumper entry was a fleet of keen Dart 18s also treating the event as one of their TTs.
An intense four days racing at Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy saw a very fair championship with a mix of conditions for the sailors. Full concentration was needed in the first two days of light winds, followed by some breezier days, this resulted in a shuffle of the results.
Tristan Ahlheid and Finlay Lomas-Clarke dominated from day one, it’s fair to say they smashed it, taking six bullets, congratulations boys in taking the 2022 UK RS Feva National Championship title.
The first two days also saw Port Dinorwic’s youngest team Ben Greenhalgh and Tom Sinfield claiming the first bullet of the championships and holding second position followed by family team Bruce and Joel Keen from Stokes Bay drawing on points on the end of day one. Nia Mecklenburgh and Harry Baddeley from Royal Lymington Yacht Club took their first bullet on the last race of the day, race three.
Race 5 – Tristan and Finlay took their third bullet, with Ben and Tom taking 2nd position and Ed Stubbs and Bruno Greenfield from Lyme Regis Sailing Club coming in 3rd place.
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USA Finn National Championships Sponsored by Allen
The stage was set for the final day of the 2022 Finn US National Championships in Long Beach hosted by ABYC.
The morning greeted the 37-Finn sailors with sunny, clear blue skies indicating the Long Beach wind-doctor would be making an appearance blowing early and would increase to 18-20 knots by the start of the first race on Sunday/Race 8.
Olympic Medalist and regatta leader Craig Monk (NZL236) handled the windy conditions with ease, winning the first race of the day with Darrel Peck (USA35) finishing in 2nd place and second overall and long time Finn sailor Eric Lidecis (USA 505) in third.
For the final race, the wind picked up to 22 knots, with gusts of 24+ and big waves sailing outside the breakwater and to the south, just off Seal Beach, providing the Finn sailors with exciting huge waves for the downwind surf-fest! In the last and 9th race of the series, overall results seem to be secured with Monk taking the lead from Lidecis on the downwind run, and seemingly for the regatta until Monk caught a wave the wrong way and flipped his Finn and unfortunately for Monk, had a hard time getting his boat righted and continuing to sail on.
Lidecis seized the opportunity after seeing Monk capsize, sailed conservatively to finish third and coupled with sailing a very consistent regatta with no scores worst than a 3rd place in any race, the overall title.
Monk wasn’t able to finish so he had to score his only bad race of his 1,1,1,2,4,13,1 score card to end up 2nd overall-giving Lidecis the overall National Championship title.
Whitstable Forts Race 2022 at Whitstable Yacht Club
Whitstable Yacht Club hosted the Forts Race Weekend over 28th and 29th of May, after a covid enforced absence of 2 years, welcoming the top UK Catamaran sailors back to the club for the iconic event, and kicking off this year’s Allen Endurance Series. Unlike most sailors who arrived at the event by road, the endurance started early for Martin Law and James Vandervord in their Hobie 21, sailing unsupported to the event on Friday morning from Minnis Bay, 16 miles down the coast! William Sunnucks was also taking the endurance aspect to the extreme, coming to Whitstable only days after arriving back from taking 5th place on an F18 in the 12-day Worrell 1000 race up the east coast of the USA!
After a morning of boat prep, the 12 entries took to the water for the Saturday afternoon shakedown race, on a large course around the buoys off Whitstable. The weather forecast, unfortunately, overpromised and underdelivered, with the race starting in very light winds. The Northerly wind continued to misbehave throughout the race, gusting up and dropping off, making tactics and wind spotting critical. The flat water favoured the Nacra F20 Carbons, with Grant Piggott and Jon Cotgreave beating the rest of the fleet comfortably in both elapsed and corrected time to take first place. The fleet and their guests were treated to a fish and chip supper, and a good night at the club bar, with a £50 bar voucher awarded to Grant and Jon for their race win kicking the evening off!